The state conference for Keep America Beautiful is approaching in August, and board member Joanne Maskew said all the local chapters have been asked what topics would be the most relevant to each town. That sparked a discussion about what Cleveland has been dealing with from an environmental standpoint.
Maskew said littering and illegal dumping are the biggest issues facing Cleveland. Other members agreed, giving examples of what they had seen. One example came from board member Joe Renner, who works for the environmental division of the Bradley County Sherriff’s Office and said he has seen many examples of both on the job.
Renner shared the example of some abandoned properties of which the BCSO cannot find the owners. One of the properties has a building that is falling down, and both have litter that needs to be removed, he said. When owners and next of kin have not been found, anyone concerned about the environmental state of a property has to go through a set of specific steps, he added.
“What I have to do is take it to environmental court,” Renner said, explaining that the county government required a longer process than did the city’s.”
He said he and his co-workers have also seen a lot of old tires littering roadsides.
The board decided to submit the issues of littering and illegal dumping to the state chapter to discuss at the conference.
KAB finalized the recipients for the local organization’s awards set to be given out this March. Mount Olive Church of God on Harrison Pike was chosen to receive the monthly Business Beautification award, and Whirlpool was chosen to receive the White Glove Award.
The local KAB chapter has been hosting regular education programs for children in schools. This school year, children have been taking part in an activity to plant zinnia flowers as they also learn about things like recycling. Maskew said many such school visits have been planned for the coming weeks.
“Right now, we have 20 scheduled for zinnias,” Maskew said.
The board also discussed the organization’s financial records from this past July until January before turning its attention to upcoming events. Maskew said the organization is “in good shape” financially, with over $69,000 in income from fundraisers, donations, government funding and the like over that six-month period.
KAB then turned its attention to the busy weekend of fundraisers and community projects they had scheduled.
This Friday, the organization will be having its annual Solid Waste Breakfast fundraiser at 7:30 a.m. at the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce. The event will feature speaker Sarah K. Dean, who works with environmental and regulatory compliance at Mars Chocolate North America as well as a meal catered by students in the culinary arts program at Bradley Central High School under the direction of Chef Richmond Flowers.
The event will also serve as the kickoff for the annual Great American Cleanup initiative to help reduce the amount of litter in the community.
This Saturday, volunteers will be gathering at the Tri-State Exhibition Center to assist with collection for the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event is funded by the Bradley County government, and county residents can dispose of any wastes that are too hazardous to be routinely recycled, thrown in the normal garbage or taken to the Bradley County landfill.
“It is vital for the community to be able do that,” Maskew said.
The next board of directors meeting will take place March 27.